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how does A-levels differ to GCSE's?

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    This is a question that has always bothered me. I sort of went along with everyone else, and just decided to do AS Levels..just because.

    However I had no idea what to expect. What is the difference?

    Is there a difference in the questions?
    I was told we'd have to apply our knowledge- what does that mean? (plus I'm pretty sure I can't do that anyway.)
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    It's just more in depth information basically. Applying your knowledge means you won't just be asked straight forward, one word answers. You would have to use your knowledge to answer a question that has a less obvious answer and you have to think about what you have learnt that could be the answer
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    They're harder. And you have to think a lot more independantly. At GCSE you get told the answers, and have to remember them. At AS Level you have to figure out the answer, and then remember it.
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    Heh. And I'm useless at that. Is this something I'll develop with a lot of work or am I just wasting my time doing these exams?
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    If you work hard and make sure you ask for help when you need it you will be fine
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    Well the main difference is they're not compulsory, so you don't end up with the slackers ruining the lessons anymore - at least not in most subjects:rolleyes:. The teachers are generally more interested in the subject matter because they know you're actually serious about the subject.
    In terms of work, the questions are more in-depth than GCSE but you still get the odd 1 mark ones in bio and chem where you can get a mark effectively for free
    Idk about you, but for my GCSEs I had quite a few "apply your knowledge" questions in exams so the style of exam doesn't seem that different to me - except for the inclusion of actual science in bio and chem:rolleyes: Maths is pretty much just following on from the top end of higher tier with none of the joke questions about trial and error or estimation although I did tend to make ridiculous mistakes on those
    Can't help with essay subjects, although some of my friends doing Eng Lit say they have really hard essay titles.
    You'll be alright as long as you "take responsibility for your own learning" (something we're always told to do lol) :hugs: I'm sure you'll manage.
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    You have to work harder at AS.
    At GCSE, you could probably get by without doing any homework, but at AS you will struggle if you don't do some work throughout the year (instead of just cramming the week before the exam).
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    I haven't really found AS harder at all, in fact far easier, though that may be because of the subjects I chose.

    But yeah, homework does seem to be more important plus there seems to be so much more content.
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    (Original post by Glutamic Acid)
    I haven't really found AS harder at all, in fact far easier, though that may be because of the subjects I chose.

    But yeah, homework does seem to be more important plus there seems to be so much more content.
    Lol I struggle to see how you can find physics easier!
    PHB2 is the most dull and boring module ever. I can't see how anyone can actually like it, I sorta like PHB1 and PHB4 they are actually quite intresting but PHB2 is a joke.
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    Out of the subjects I'm doing, I definitely find Physics the hardest, although not too difficult.
    Is that AQA B? I'm doing AQA A Module 2, which is Mechanics and Molecular Kinetic Theory. Most of it seems to be basic Maths with some learning of principles.
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    (Original post by Glutamic Acid)
    Out of the subjects I'm doing, I definitely find Physics the hardest, although not too difficult.
    Is that AQA B? I'm doing AQA A Module 2, which is Mechanics and Molecular Kinetic Theory. Most of it seems to be basic Maths with some learning of principles.
    Yeah AQA B, the one without coursework.
    Its all about waves, and pendulums
    and other boring things
    Lol I can't actually remember what it was about it must be bad!
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    Waves and pendulums do sound bad, but I wish I had no coursework.
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    Intense note taking! Also, none of the teacher saying 'Note this down' or 'Make sure you mention this' because you have to use your own initiative... which is a bit of a shock to the system in the first few weeks.
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    Yeah but you get dodgy praticals instead.
    Its not all good.
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    Ouch, practicals. I can't stand them as I have a tendency for messing them up.
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    Can't help with essay subjects, although some of my friends doing Eng Lit say they have really hard essay titles.
    Not really, my English lit. essays have been nothing beyond GCSE, if not easier. For merchant of Venice we had to look at how Shakespeare had shaped audience reaction to a character at GCSE, but AS we've been given a choice of coursework tittles like 'how is love potrayed' etc.

    My GCSE teacher gave me some 'harder' essay tittles with critical quotes in an stuff and said they would be like that this year, but we've had nothing of the sort!


    I was really worried about it being too hard but really, it's not impossible. If they were impossible no one would pass, and although it's snobby, think about all the people who have found GCSE much harder than you. You'll have to adapt to different AOs in history and English, for example, but it's just the same as when you had to learn the GCSE ones at the start of year ten.


    (But I haven't passed any exams yet so maybe I should hold me tongue!)
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    You get no workbooks from teachers, and instead have to fork out money to keep buying lined paper
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    I really don't see any difference in AS and GCSE...

    (Naranoc we all get free textbooks and 500 pieces of lined paper at our school, pretty odd they don't even give you textbooks!)
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    I passed all my AS exams, the worst were a couple of D's I suggest for the sciences, get to know it backwards first, use your initiative by applying principles and adhere to the mark schemes and use terminology they like (eg Biology schemes properly bum surface area and diffusion gradients)

    Arts I think using systematic frameworks is essential and be as technical and relevant as you can.
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    how do they get harder and are they much more demanding than GCSE, alot of colleges have said to me that A-levels are much more demanding than GCSE's is this true and did any one find it difficult when they made the transition on to A-level

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Updated: December 25, 2007
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